Thursday, March 16, 2017

Taking advantage of a Rainy Day!

Today it is raining, the freezing level cranked up to about 2000m, the snow is shit for the moment, the avalanche hazard is high and this warming has put ice climbing on hold.... on the positive this has started a pretty good avalanche cycle which "could" clean things up on some more avalanche prone climbs. Also it forces me to do life things like my laundry... exciting right?! Yeah I know clean sheets and underwear!! I'm also trying to do my taxes which doesn't seem to be working out but it will in the end I'm sure.

I've been posting pictures on insta-tweet-my-face for the past few months instead of writing. So you'll probably see a few of those photo's again but anyway it doesn't matter. On to the sharing of my life......
Cockoo's Nest! KHC.

I left the west coast in early February driving Gus over the numerous mountain passes to Golden BC. Here, I meet up with Fred Giroux, my climbing partner for what I think is a pretty rad trip to the BC Coast Mounatins in May! Our plan has been to climb and get ready for our trip!

Fred and I were awarded the John Lauchlan Memorial Award for 2017 by the Canadian Alpine Club. We're both extremely honoured to have receive this award!

Here is a little video about the award:

I also was enrolled in a 7 day Avalanche Operations Course for personal growth and development. I finished it last week. On that course I got to meet and go touring with some rad old/new friends.

Lovely Friends Maddie, Russel & Ryan!

Luke Spence rippin' at Mt. Pierce!
Russel flying... part way down Mushroom People, Asulkan Valley, Rogers Pass.

I little back ground on Fred and Myself:
1. We both love climbing!
2. Fred is a crusher!
3. I'm still learning how crush!
4. We're both from NB!

So Fred and I meet in Squamish 5 or 6 years ago when I parked by his van. Both with NB plates we chatted briefly and then went our ways. The next year I ran into him again at Strathcona Park Lodge when I was visiting. We chatted more about getting into the mountains but it never really worked out. Until now!
Fred climbing the second chimney on Cockoo's Nest. KHC

We have put in a number of super fun days out climbing multi-pitch mixed routes in Field, Kickhorse Canyon and the Icefields. Hopefully with this warming trend we can get some early spring alpine missions in before I have to head to work.
Cirus Cirus a fun 3 pitch WI4.
Fred cruising the M7 pitch on Asylum. KHC.

Fred on pitch 1 of Nasty Habits. Field.

Another strong onsight by Fred on the final M7 pitch of Nasty Habits.

Fred on Blob Blob Blob!
For those of you that don't know Fred he is ultra talented! His mental game is spot on, he can hold on for what seems like forever and is extremely humble! It is inspiring! So thanks Fred!

Fred on the lower pitches of Asylum. KHC

A little beta on our trip: We're heading up Bute Inlet (one of the longest & deepest fjords in the BC Coast Mountains) by boat the 3rd week of May to spend 18days in the mountains. We have a few objectives up there our main one being the Northeast face of Peak 9331.

Our BC Coast Mountain adventure is to climb this cool looking alpine face!

We are in the planning phase sorting out logistical things such as boats, potential gear/food drop, alpine climbing rack and how we can go as light as possible on our very bushy approach!

Homathko Ice Field with Peak 9331 on the left and 10,001ft Grenville to the right.

Some amazing news!! Fred and are a receiving support from Spirit West!

Spirit West is a Calgary born outdoor retail and clothing company. They handcraft all their clothing in house and also do custom fitting on technical clothing. They do loads of gear repair so if having high quality repairs and using your garments until they legitimately die is important to you this is where you should repair it!

For the next month there is going to be more planning, climbing and skiing for sure and I'm stoked! Though I'm off to work in late April it is still exciting as I'll be in Red Rock NV rock climbing for NOLS. So a little warm dry break before the Wet Coast Adventure is going to be nice! I'll make sure I bring my running shoes!

Be sure to check out my friends Russel Henry, Dave Mosley and Luke Spence adventure as they sea kayak and ski there way from Prince Rupert BC to Skagway AK starting April 1st!

Thanks to all the people that I've got to ski and climb with! You all rock!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Where Do You Find Home?

Sunset over the Waddington Range taken from the Homathko Ice-Field.
I recently watched the Arcteryx film "Crossing Home" and have been thinking about it since! It's about 2 skiers traveling through the BC Coast Mountains.

Check it out!!

The question I've been contemplating is not where home is but where do you find home?

I often get the question "Where are you from?" or  "Where do you live?" and it's hard to answer these questions for me!

This is the usual answer - "I'm from New Brunswick but I live in my van or wherever I'm working" and that is often followed with - "So you don't have an address?" answer - "Well I have multiple" anyway you get where I'm going and if not that is totally fine, it is hard to explain!

Climbing "The Kraken" in Walton Glen Canyon in New Brunswick early this winter. Photo by Don Ricker
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We all have a different place we call home and for me it is constant moving to be close or in the mountains. When I'm in the mountains I feel alive, happy and a since of being. Everything slows down the chaos of people, cars and all the technology are hidden in the distance and out of site! It's just you, your partners what's in your pack and the mountains! This is where I find home and I would recommend it to anyone!

Ryan Van Horne climbing during the FA of No Particular Morning or Evening WI3+ 90m on Vancouver Island.

I have spent one third of my time over the past few month skiing and climbing in and around the mountains of the BC Coast. Here are a few photo's of my adventures in the place where I find home.

Mike Loch skiing the steep and deep off the northwest ridge of Steep Peak.

Just look at the amazing view!

Ashlie Ferguson rippin the cold smoke of Vancouver Island with Mt Myra in the distance.

Dropping in the North Bowl of Mt. Myra Photo by Ashlie Ferguson

The friends you travel with in these places are special! Me and Mitch Harter with Mt Moyeha an numerous Island Alps in the distance. Photo by Ashlie Ferguson

If you're ever wondering where I am you can probably just guess I'm in the hills or close to them climbing, skiing or working!

Our simple little home in the hills! Not a bad view eh?
Thanks to the amazing BC Coast Mountains! The incredible people I get to share this amazing home with! It is most definitely a pleasure and a privilege.

Peak 9331 and the 10 001ft Mt. Grenville to its right.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Adventures! Old and New!

Panorama from the summit of Dome Peak.
So it has been awhile since I last wrote about my adventures. Partly due to life getting in the way, laziness and just not feeling the stoke. Either way today I got excited to share. This is a brief summary of the past 8 months and some exciting new adventures to come!

I think my first outing was on Vancouver Island climbing the North Spur of Kings Peak with Ashlie, Seb, Bill and Steve and skied of the summit. I love Kings for its quick access and fun terrain!
Me and Ashlie walking to the summit of Kings Peak. Photo by Seb
One thing I have done more this year that I haven’t in the past few was getting out kayaking. I paddled around the Gold River area with Paul Dempsey, Allison Bray and Chris Scotten. We paddle the upper Gold River and then went exploring around the small, remote coastal town of Tahsis. We weren’t totally sure what we would find.

After looking at some maps we decided to go scout the Sucowa River which flows south away from Tahsis along road and the Perry River which flows north also along the Tahsis road. Of the two the Perry looked to be have a better flow and gradient so we went for it. It was a 7km run with and 4-5% gradient. The flow was medium low which was good for us on this exploratory descent. The river itself is mostly steep boulder gardens with long continuous sections. We paddled all but one section that was unrunnable (boulder sieve). The run is excellent and I would highly recommend it to anyone comfortable on steep bouldery class 4 to 5.

Max on a larger rapid on Perry River. Photo by Paul Dempsey
Chris Scotten running the money rapid on Perry River. Photo by Paul Dempsey

Ashlie Ferguson and I paddled across Upper Campbell lake to the Elk River Delta and went exploring on Big Den Mountain in late May and climbed a new 300m route on the left side of the SE face called Contemplating Emotions. We decided to leave the rope at camp and then proceeded to slowly and patiently make our way up this beautiful aesthetic buttress that had difficulties up to 5.5 with wicked exposure! I recommend taking a rope to future parties.

Ash climbing on lower part Contemplating Emotions.
Ashlie on the high exposed ramp on CE.

Then Puntledge River Festival! This river is amazing! It has excellent playboating from huge playful holes to steep green waves for long boats. The upper Puntledge is like nothing else on the island! It has huge Norway style sides and it climax’s at Stotan Falls with a powerful 15ft falls into a continuous section with a few munchie holes and another falls that’s 20ft. There is so much fun to be had for all levels of ability on this river!!

As the summer progressed I worked a NOLS Mountaineering course that traversed the Homathko Ice-field. This course was excellent for so many reasons! The students, my co-instructor, Marcelo Mascareno, and getting to explore a zone I hadn’t been. It also rekindled my stoke to explore new places with my friends. This trip started a new fire for me which I will share more about later.
Sunset on Waddington! Amazing!!
On route to the summit of Plateau Peak!
Making our way across the Homathko Ice-field. Mt Grenville in the distance.
After finishing the Homathko traverse I headed to the Yukon for a 21 day NOLS canoe trip. We paddled the Finlayson River into Frances Lakes and down the Frances River to Upper Liard. This is a fun adventurous trip with amazing whitewater in the Finlayson especially! You have to work pretty hard carrying your gear and canoes around the 200m deep class 3-4 Finlayson Canyon. After that the Frances is fun class 2-3 whitewater with great Bull Trout and Greyling fishing!
I said bye to the Yukon and headed to Squamish where I meet up with Ashlie Ferguson, Amy Whitaker, Martin Arteaga Miranda, Isidora Llarena and Greg Sinclair for some sweet and much needed rock climbing! Ashlie, Amy, Martin, Isi and I did some cragging at the Smoke Bluffs for a few days and then Ashlie and I climbed Over the Rainbow on the Apron. A day or two later Greg and I connected for a fun day out on Parallel Passages up on the North Walls. Though my time this summer in Squamish was limited I had a blast getting out on the beautiful silver granite! Thanks team for the good times!

Ashlie climbing slab on Over the Rainbow!

Greg sending on Parallel Passages.

A few days after Squamish I was climbing on the south face of Tom Taylor with Russell Henry and Jordan Lodders. We climbed Finnigans Buttress an excellent 300m 5.9! It was Jordan's first alpine climb and a great day out! We also traveled up there with Ciara and Carly who climbed the standard route on Tom Taylor which is also a beautiful climb!!

South face of Tom Taylor!

It wasn't to long before I found myself back in WA getting ready for another mountaineering course, this time up Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan. Vivianna Callahan, myself and 7 students ventured through the North Cascades learning mountaineering, leadership skills and summiting Mt Baker and Shuksan along the way!!

Oh and I can't forget the purchase of my new home! Here is Gus the Bus!


Ok, I'm going to brag a little here! Gus is fully camperized with a 3 way fridge, propane stove, greywater storage, a shower, 44 liter water storage and a pop top!

I made my way from WA to Strathcona Park Lodge to work a 6 day Intro to Mountaineering Course for the COLT program which went well. The students were wonderful and we had a great time in the Mt Myra area! Cheer Bill Phipps for working with me :)
After that I connected with Ryan Van Horne and we headed for a run up into the Kings Peak area. With moderate weather we decided not to commit to our main objective and instead climbed a super fun new route on Queens Face. It is about 250m and goes at 5.7.
Ryan climbing through the crux of our route on Queens Face.
Ryan midway up on Queens Face.

And once again I found myself back in WA getting ready for my last course of the season. I got really excited for this course because I was working with my good friend Mitch Harter! We had a blast working with our students!
Glacier Peak

We got to adventure from Sloan Creek Trail up over Glacier Peak and down to the Downey Creek Trail, Head. Got re-rationed and headed up Downey Creek Trail up Dome Peak, traversed to South Cascade Glacier and down the South Cascade River "Trail" a very bushy one...... out to Cascade River Rd and back to the branch. Strong work team you all crushed it!

Getting up to Strathcona for Thanksgiving dinner was my next adventure, which included a stop in Nanaimo to paddle Cooper Canyon on the Chemanius River with Shayne, Mark and Steve and that same night pulling on some tights and covering the rest of my body with multiple colours of glitter to going dancing at a Strathcona, Space themed, Barn Party!! Eating Thanksgiving Dinner!! Getting the Gold River Trifecta Upper, Middle, Lower at 150cms which is a great level! And the icing on the cake was exploring the Nesook River near Tahsis with Russell Henry! This river is one of my favorites ever! Is just builds the whole time! An excellent class 4-5 run with lots of kick and you can portage everything if your willing to brave the temperate rainforest!

The top of the business on the Nesook. Photo by Russel Henry
Russ looking up the business on the Nesook. We portaged this!

When I was in WA finishing up my course I made plans to go climbing in Smith Rock with Catherine Arensberg! So after the Nesook I jumped on the ferry and made my way to Catherine, picked her up in Gus (my van) and headed for Smith! The weather was hit and miss but we made the best of it! We ran into Bryan Sexauer while we where there and he joined us for Gus's first pizza party! On our way home we stopped for a day of climbing in Vantage WA which was awesome!

Gus's first road trip!!
Catherine hanging out in one Gus's classy swivel seats!
While climbing in the gym in Campbell River I go a phone call from Larry Stanier. Larry is on the John Lauchlan Memorial Award review team. He called with the news that Fred Giroux and I won 2017 John Lauchlan Memorial!!! I didn't know what to say I was blown away and finally said thank you and how honored I was to receive this award! So excited for this adventure with Fred which will likely happen in May 2017.

Our objective for the JLA! Peak 9331 close to Mount Grenville on the Homathko Ice-field. check it out!

The past week has been hanging out with my parents who came out for a visit!!!!! so much fun with them! It was so wonderful to see you two!!! Surfing in Tofino with some wonderful friends Adele, Ciara, Scotty, Ashlie and Anna Lucia!!

Ciara, Scotty, Anna Lucia and Adele!!

I got a paddle on the Cooper with Russell November 2nd! I drove to Golden to meet up with

Fred. We received the John Lauchlan Memorial Award at the Banff Film Festival Saturday November 5th. That night Fred headed back to Golden to get ready to go surfing and beach living in Nicaragua and I drove north up Hwy 93 to meet Paul Rachele to go climbing in the Ice-fields Parkway.

Paul and I organized in Banff the afternoon of November 5th so we would be able to take advantage of the cold weather in the ice-fields. We are both pretty excited that we did that because the weather has warmed up and we haven't been able to get in the hills since.

So November 6th we got up and climbed Side Street on Little Snow Dome. It is super fun! There is a bit of snow slogging but the climbing was in great condition for us! The approach was 2hrs. We were on the route for 6hrs... with the waist to nipple deep snow slogging taking up most of that time! and got down to the cars by 10pm. Our conditions were M5 WI3+.
Max soloing up the first steeper section on Side Street. Photo by Paul Rachele

Since getting off Little Snow Dome we have spent sometime in Jasper eating burgers, hanging out with friends, sitting in Canmore's Safeway parking lot using the Wifi, drytooling at the Playground in Canmore and driving to trail heads to find the shit weather to follow and a flat tire.... dang! Now it is November 12th and we're hanging out in Canmore again! Well fingers crossed the cold comes and we're able to get out in the hills! Oh yeah on November 18th the Night of Lies is happening! Cornerstone Theatre in Canmore at 7pm. See ya there!